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Brown Co-Recipient of Patient Safety Award

KEENE, N.H. 11/18/02 - Jeffrey Brown, coordinator of extended studies at Keene State College, joined colleagues from Concord Hospital to receive one of the first John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety Awards for system innovation. Brown is a member of a five-person team named by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and the National Quality Forum (NQF) to receive the award on behalf of Concord Hospital.

The team adapted and implemented methodology founded in aviation psychology and high-reliability theory to improve care processes for cardiac surgery patients. The hospital team established a collaborative approach to daily patient rounds that greatly improved the care of cardiac surgery patients.

Brown, who has a background in aviation, and specializes in macro human factors, a branch of safety science, has served as an advisor and consultant to the care team for over two years. He collaborated with the team at Concord Hospital to adapt and refine communication techniques for multidisciplinary decision-making that have been developed to enhance safety and outcome reliability in high-risk, knowledge-intensive systems.

Adopting this structured approach to communication and decision-making, resulted in several marked improvements:

the mortality of Concord Hospitals cardiac surgery patients declined significantly, relative to one of the best benchmarks in the country;

open-heart surgery patients reported greater satisfaction with their treatment; and

health care providers expressed greater satisfaction with the collaborative care process than with traditional rounds.

Brown noted that the collaborative rounds process is aimed at reducing medical errors, a leading cause of death and disability in the United States. Medical errors cause more fatalities each year than AIDS, breast cancer, and motor vehicle accidents combined, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Patient Safety Institute.

Each year more than one million people in the U.S. suffer from preventable medical injuries, and more than 100,000 die from them, according to a November 1999 report by the Institute of Medicine. Preventable medical error is fundamentally a property of system design, rather than practitioner action or inaction. Brown emphasizes the importance of recognizing that our society has extraordinary medical and healthcare capability, and that optimizing systems to effectively support the knowledge and skill of healthcare professionals is critical to improving patient safety.

Brown is the only non-medical member of the award-winning Concord Hospital team, which includes Paul N. Uhlig, MD, MPA; Anne K. Nason, MS, ARNP; Addie Camelio, BSW, and Elise Kendall, RPh. The five received the Eisenberg award on Oct. 1 from NQF and the JCAHO. The patient safety awards program honors John M. Eisenberg, M.D, M.B.A., who was administrator of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Eisenberg, who died in March, was also one of the founding leaders of the NQF and sat on its board of directors.

Brown, who lives in Peterborough, is co-founder of BC2 Consulting, LLC, in Nashua, which does business as Peterborough Aviation Group and System Safety Group. He is a member of the faculty for the Health Forum-National Patient Safety Foundation Leadership Fellowship in Patient Safety and is member of the Working Group on Teamwork and Coordination of Care for the Commonwealth Fund in Manhattan, a private health care research foundation. He has 18 years of experience in post-secondary education, primarily as a faculty member and administrator for baccalaureate programs in flight operations and aviation management. Brown has been a member of the Continuing Education staff at Keene State for the past 18 months. He works to expand KSCs extended studies program to serve businesses, labor groups, public agencies, schools, and non-profit organizations in the tri-state region.

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